‘All Three PG Area Ridings Winnable’: NDP Leader
Prince George, B.C. – No candidates have publicly declared any interest and they don’t have their nomination meetings officially set yet but NDP Leader John Horgan still believes all three Prince George area ridings are “winnable.”
“Nechako Lakes, Prince George-Mackenzie and Prince George Valemount – all are very much in play,” he told 250News.
“As are all seats in B.C. where we’ve seen 16 years of B.C. Liberals really ignoring the issues that are relevant to people and focusing instead on the needs of their wealthy backers.”
So, which issues is he referring to?
“When you look at the increased costs for almost everything the government provides – whether it’s fees for education, transportation fees, hydro rates, medical service premiums, ICBC rates going up again, camping fees going up. Just wherever you turn, the Liberals have increased costs and they’ve reduced services.”
Horgan said it’s also maddening when he sees the government spending taxpayers’ money on its advertising campaigns in the run up to the provincial election May 9.
“We’re in the election cycle now and the government starts to spend other peoples’ money telling them how great they are. And so, when they see government ad upon government ad, they think of how that money could have gone into classrooms.”
He expects the health care system and softwood lumber will be two big issues once the writ is dropped in Prince George.
“Although Northern Health I think has done a pretty good job relative to the other health authorities around the province to have such a large area and to deal with a small population to provide services to, we’re still seeing wait times increasing, we’re still seeing concerns,” he says.
“And the softwood lumber file on the economic side is something I believe the government should have been focusing on for the past 24 months aggressively and its only now that the spectre of countervails comes forward that we hear that the minister of natural resources has reached out to the federal government and asked them to make it a high priority.”
Issues aside, that doesn’t explain why no one has come forward wanting to run for them.
“We have great people that are stepping forward. We had a couple of people that were ready to go – one of them had a family issue. I don’t want to name names at this point, but we’re excited about where we are with candidate recruitment right across the province and that includes the north Cariboo and the Prince George area.”
He also dismissed the notion that because the three ridings are currently held by high profile Liberal cabinet ministers they’ll be tough to knock off.
“No, I think there’s actually more accountability when it comes to cabinet ministers because they’re the ones that have got the ability to make decisions and change the direction of the premier,” said Horgan.
“It’s Shirley Bond and Mike Morris who’ve been at the cabinet table when the Liberals decided to increase hydro rates, decided to increase MSP premiums. So, I think the level of responsibility is higher for both of them.
“And also for Mr. Rustad as well. We have significant challenges on the First Nations file. He’s been holding that file for a while but we’re not making the type of progress British Columbians want to see – certainly not the type of progress First Nations want to see.”
He concluded with this parting message:
“It’s time that you had someone truly in your corner. Christy Clark has been focused for the past number of years on fundraising and making sure that the people that have invested in her party get their needs.
“Tax breaks for millionaires was a high priority but not reducing MSP premiums, not providing child care and not investing in education.”